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Bears’ girls’ soccer team on track to finish atop Red Division

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By Jimmy Allinder

Unless the East Brunswick High School girls’ soccer team (9-0-1) suffers a monumental collapse, the Bears are going to win the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) Red Division title.

That will be quite an accomplishment considering East Brunswick is one of many outstanding teams in the conference’s largest school loop, but a division crown is just part of the bigger picture in the eyes of coach Kevin Brady. The veteran of 22 seasons coaching varsity soccer (11 at Spotswood High School and another 11 with the Bears), Brady said he’s tried to keep his team’s record thus far in perspective.

“I’ve rested players in games and practices more than in the past, probably because I’m more focused on the whole season,” he said. “I’ve made an effort not to overreact to any single match by deviating from that strategy, and hopefully it will work out [in the end].”

Because there are so many talented underclassmen on the roster, Brady has been more willing to include them in the lineup so everybody is fresh. He starts only two seniors, while three sophomores and two freshmen see a lot of minutes.

As a result, his approach has paid dividends, with the only blemish being a 2-2 tie to The Hun School. East Brunswick currently owns a two-game lead in the Red Division race with only three division games remaining.

The Bears visit Monroe Township High School (2-5-1 division, 2-7-1 overall) Oct. 6, host South Brunswick High School (3-4-1 division, 4-4-1 overall) Oct. 8 and travel to Piscataway Township High School (4-2-1 division, 5-2-1 overall) Oct. 14. The regular season concludes with a visit to Notre Dame High School (6-2-1) Oct. 15 and a home match against Woodbridge High School (7-3) Oct. 18.

The next item of business is the conference tournament, which begins in two weeks with East Brunswick likely to receive the top seed if it wins the division title. However, a host of strong clubs from the GMC White Division will provide stiff competition, including Sayreville War Memorial High School (9-1 division and overall), Bishop George Ahr High School (8-1 division and overall) and Woodbridge.

The NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group IV tournament — the last and most important portion of the campaign — begins with preliminary games Nov. 1, and the Bears deserve to be in the discussion as one of the favorites. The bracket includes a number of strong contenders, including Sayreville, Freehold Township High School (8-1-1 overall), Manalapan igh School (8-1) and Colts Neck High School (5-1-1) from the Shore Conference.

The leading scorer is junior Sabria Glasgow, a star on the basketball team, who has made her mark with nine goals and five assists. Sophomore Jessica DiMatteo has deposited six goals and two assists, and senior Andrea Apostolescu has six goals.

Others who have found the net are Rebecca Crocco (two goals, one assist), Gia LaRocca (one goal), junior Gina Morrison (three goals, four assists), freshman Alyna Negron (one goal), senior Maria Salib (one goal) and freshman Brianna Sliwinski (one goal, two assists). Junior goalkeeper Lauren Krinsky has come up with 65 saves.

Brady reserves the label of the team’s most skillful player for senior Katrina Nguyen-Demary, who directs the offense from midfield and leads the Bears with 10 assists in addition to a goal.

“Watching her deliver passes with the proper weight and texture is pure joy,” Brady said. “She is poetry in motion with the soccer ball.”

With the Bears having an opportunity to make this a memorable season, Brady wants to keep improving the rest of the season.

“Our goal is simply to be better today than we were the day before,” he said. “We are certainly striving to win championships, but we want to keep our focus on the process — improving mentally and physically every day.”

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